Toni English, whose work I often enjoy when she's cranking out assembly-line Penthouse videos and the like, tries for a stupid "Twilight Zone" porn episode in this short and unsatisfying exercise. When star Jon Dough delivered the surprise ending, I was left feeling insulted. Had this been shot back in the theatrical porn era, it would be a poster child for why theaters routinely had "No Refunds" signs posted prominently.
Dough is an anonymous prisoner -his cell a cheap set with exposed brick wall, mattress, hay on the floor (what's that?) and a regular door. Two creeps sort of interrogate him, but instead they have a lot of sex in front of him and he's made to watch. This was made a decade before Abu Ghraib, so the humiliation and torture stuff is missing.
The intentionally abstract nature of the story -no names, no content, merely Dough expressing his lack of any information to reveal, is convenient for wall-to-wall sex, but wholly unsatisfying to watch. For Vivid, it is clearly a case of let's pretend: make a gonzo sex video but throw in a couple of really cheap sets, bits of pointless dialog, and suddenly it's a feature. I find this approach wholly dishonest - at least gonzo in the 21st Century is generally obvious and easily avoided.
A top star for Vivid, Madelyn Night, is promoted here, but makes little to no impact in the femme ensemble. Her beauty is striking, but the other girls are made up to look skanky, perhaps with the intention that they are portraying whores (unstated) but they don't even look like porn actresses but instead like real whores. Director Toni has the cast constantly gazing directly at the camera, often with a smirk, meant to be taunting prisoner Dough, but seeming like escapees from some lousy Antonio Adamo shoot in Europe.
I won't give away the ending, but not since Jean-Luc Godard almost single handedly invented the "insult the audience" technique back in the '60s have I felt so insulted -thanks Vivid and special thanks to a mean-spirited "Toni English/Kelly Holland" or whatever your dumb name is.
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